Commentary

Raising money for cancer research

Updated: May 15, 2012, 1:29 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Dick VitaleCourtesy Dick VitaleDick Vitale with cancer survivors Kyle Peters (age 12), Eddie Livingston (3) and Ashley Krueger (16).

No youngster should ever have to suffer due to cancer. That is why I am so driven to raise the cash for pediatric cancer research.

I will fight until my last dying breath to help out these kids.

That is why this Friday's event, the Seventh annual Dickie V Gala at the Sarasota Ritz-Carlton to benefit the V Foundation for cancer research, is so important to me. Over 800 people will be in attendance as the goal is toe raise over $1 million for pediatric cancer research.

This year's gala will be honoring former Notre Dame football coach and ESPN analyst Lou Holtz, former Maryland coach Gary Williams and Villanova coach Jay Wright.

Over 50 celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment will be in attendance. Among those scheduled to attend are John Calipari of national champion Kentucky, Rick Pitino, Billy Donovan, Gary Sheffield, Kellen Winslow, Vinny Testaverde, Jon Gruden, Ricky Watters, Ronde Barber, Josh Freeman, Christian Laettner, Mark Gottfried, Steve Lavin and Frank Martin.

There will be five families who lost children to cancer, as well as several youngsters who have survived battling the disease. Sixteen-year-old Ashley Krueger, 12-year old Kyle Peters and three-year old Eddie Livingston will be there and they have shown the will and spirit as cancer survivors.

Cancer flat-out sucks. It affects the patient, their families, friends, everyone involved in their lives.

The legacy of my buddy Jimmy Valvano is his fight against the dreaded disease. I am so thrilled that so many people will join us in Sarasota, making it the sports capital of the world! This year we added a twist with The Spinners performing their Motown sound right after the dinner.

While the event is sold out, you can still help us out. You can still make a donation to beat cancer. Please go to dickvitaleonline.com or call 1-800-4-JIMMY V to help us out.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.